Picked over shelves not a cause for concern, experts tell shoppers
KINGSTON -- In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic in March, there were many reports of shortages of certain paper products, most notably toilet paper.
Now, shoppers are finding a resurgence of empty shelves during the second wave.
Shopper Justin Roy tells CTV News Ottawa he has had no trouble finding everything he needs. However, limits on products are back just as he saw at the beginning of the pandemic.
"I noticed that they’re limiting the amount of toilet paper that you could have," explains Roy. "It’s almost like they’re preparing for the worst because they already went through it."
Shoppers say picked over shelves are becoming a more common sight in Ottawa, Kingston and eastern Ontario, heading into the second wave.
"There’s a lot of toilet paper and paper towel and cleaning products that are out of stock," says Anna Graham.
With disinfectant wipes still in short supply, Dino Bianca of Kruger Products tells CTV News Ottawa, it’s believed paper towel is being used as a substitute.
He says Canadian manufacturers are working around the clock to keep up, with suppliers now rationing shipments of paper towels.
"People weren’t thinking about paper towels in March, but as they were cleaning more and cleaning everything," says Bianca. "Not as dramatic as it was for toilet paper, but we are starting to see a lift."
Experts say when people see others stocking up in large numbers, they do too.
"When we see these empty shelves it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy that 'oh well we must be running out because these shelves are empty,'" explains Michael von Massow, a food economist with the University of Guelph. "I think part of it is we need to make certain that we’re ok, and that’s made worse when we feel uncertain about the situation."
For shoppers like Roy, he says he will continue to stock up as he needs, and hope there’s no second wave of panic buying.
"As long as everyone’s following the rules, I think it should be ok."